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Motorcycles, Letterpress Printing, and God
Posted on August 3rd, 2011 // Inspiration, News, Printing //

A while back, we, like most other people who are impressed with craft, tweeted this video about Shinya Kimura the bike builder.

It was the most retweeted item we’ve ever seen from any of our posts and was fun to watch people around the world respond to it the same way we did – with awe.

Impressed is to say the least about how we felt about Shinya Kimura, and the beautiful editing in the film had us almost in tears. It may also be important to state that one of our shop favorites is the Robert M. Pirsig novel, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s all about quality. The pursuit of quality is something we strive for around the shop, whole-heartedly.

After watching the Kimura video, naturally, we wanted more. After some clicking around the ol’ interweb, we came across another beautifully crafted video from Etsy. It is one of their Handmade Portraits, this one highlighting the work of Adam Cramer. Adam Cramer is a character. He has a lot of emotion surrounding quality, intellect of craft, workmanship, and pride.

Cramer brings up a very interesting point in the first little bit of the video: what is the difference between a Phillips & a Flathead? We admit, we knew one was flat and the other with a cross-top, but the difference in functionality? Not so sure. So, we looked it up.

In brief, there was this guy, Henry Phillips, who refined the self-centering screw design off the hands of an acquaintance, John Thompson. Apparently Thompsson was burnt out on the design after some failed attempts at marketing it. So, Phillips did some tweaks and got a patent and next thing you know, one of its first customers was General Motors.

The Phillips screw proved itself to be more effective and useful for automated production lines. This automatically (ha!) strikes us, because we’re in the business of running machines and these little bits of fact really please us. So, now every time we tighten a Phillips screw, we’re going to imagine that our arm is really a robot and make a little riveting sound to accompany it.

We’re not quite sure what it is about knowing why there is a Phillips screw, but thanks to Adam Cramer, we’re super glad we do now.

Also, on this internet journey, we discovered the polite way to out a fool is to tell them to go fetch a left-handed screwdriver.

Whatever/whoever your God may be. As a collective, around the shop, we can agree that God lies in the details. Everyday, when we notice a new detail, really nail a detail we’ve been trying to make better, or feel enlightened by the quality of something we’ve printed, to us, that is everything.

Adam Cramer and Shinya Kimura build and customize motorcycles. We print.

Handmade Portraits: Liberty Vintage Motorcycles from Etsy on Vimeo.

    1 Comment

  1. dug

    everything about that is awesome. And I believe—hauntingly, very true.

    Such a loss of humanity out there today, good to see some still have it in a big way. That dude does.


Double XL Solvent Transfer + Tutorial!
Posted on July 29th, 2011 // News, Posters & Prints, Printing //

When we get a wild hair to do something aesthetic around the shop, we want it done big. Sometimes ‘big’ refers to something that seems small but ends up being a much larger project (mainly because of our demand for things to be near perfect- and ‘perfect’ who knows what that is on any given day), or in this case, ‘big’ simply refers to the size of its finished size.

We wanted people to know what they were getting into when walking through the front door. So, what better than a 15′x10′ sign? I’ll tell you: a 15′x10′ solvent transfer sign with an awesome Beatrice Warde quotation, that’s what. We figured we’d let you in on how we did it – sort of. Sort of, only because we might be leaving out some details, but you’ll get the gist.

You’ll need:

  • Canvas surface
  • Acetone
  • Toner-based print out - we built our file, to scale, in Illustrator and separated it in artboards to sizes the big roll printer at Kinkos could handle.
  • Latex gloves- do NOT use nitrile, acetone will melt them. Yes, we found this out accidentally and one of us will become intolerant of solvents in the near future. Which also reminds us to remind you all of how dangerous handling solvents without protection is. Or, perhaps it could go full circle and you’ll find yourself casually standing downwind at the gas pump and if that’s the gateway to paint huffing, not wearing gloves is second base. And, we’ve all seen those episodes of COPS with the paint huffers.
  • Brayer- We used a brayer to really get the ink to transfer from the printout to the canvas. However, something that you can find that will apply pressure and roll along will work too. We did some troubleshooting with this and we started with using jars and rolling them, but we couldn’t get the pressure right over such a large surface. We’ve used spoons with smaller jobs, to give you an idea.
  • Ruler
  • Rags
  • Masking or Painter’s Tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Friends

What You’ll Do:

  • When designing your printout, make sure that you reflect it in the end so that the image will transfer with the correct orientation. This is imperative with text, unless you want the whole thing to be only legible in a mirror, which, we’re assuming is not the case.
  • Layout your canvas. You might want to place something for the canvas to press into underneath, especially if you’re working on a hard surface. This will also prevent slippage. Line up and tape your printout to the canvas.
  • Apply acetone to rag and rub into the paper.
  • If you’re doing a large transfer, like ours, you will most likely need a 3rd person to smooth out the printout as you go so that it doesn’t wrinkle or kink along the way.
  • Quickly have someone trace your steps with the brayer or rolling apparatus to ensure that the ink transfers to the canvas.
  • And repeat! Et voilá!

Also, we set up a stop motion video for your enjoyment:

XL solvent transfer from The Mandate Press on Vimeo.

XL solvent transfer from The Mandate Press on Vimeo.

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Lions and Llamas and Candy, Oh My!
Posted on July 28th, 2011 // Letterpress, News, Posters & Prints, Printing //

Candyvore* images courtesy of Shyama Golden

We love a lot of things around here. I mean, we’re already 1-up on a lot of people just by working at a letterpress shop. So, instead of rubbing it in your face, we choose to share the love. Some of the things we love, are, but not limited to: bulldogs, that steam engine sound the S-model cylinder makes, the shop swamp cooler, saying ‘hello’, and Shyama Golden. Shyama (rhymes with llama), is pretty fly. When was the last time you heard ‘fly’? We also love In Living Color. So, being the radical person she be, whenever she requests us to print one of her amazing designs, we jump right in. We love Shyama today and this post is for her since we feel lucky to be able to print with such a great designer and we’re feeling extra lovey-dovey today.

Her ‘Candyvore’ poster design was printed on our Vandercook model-4 and we used a split-fountain technique to run the colors together in 1 pass instead of a 2-color run. It’s printed on Cranes Lettra 110# Ecru for that warm feeling. It’s as though printing with a split-fountain, in a way, mirrors the sentiment of the piece. It walks a fine line between wanting to cuddle with a wild cat who only eats piñata candy, and the sheer danger of lions and binge eating. Split-fountain inking can either ruin your day or make you extremely happy, and with this ‘Candyvore’ print it was definitely the latter.

We also threw in some other works that we’ve printed for Shyama in the gallery…enjoy!


  1. iris

    Beautiful work!!!! congratulations!!

  2. gustavo berocan

    that’s really nice job. i’m dying to print on letterpress. is it expensive to print a poster like this?

  3. Danielle

    Thank you!

    We can definitely price something out for you. Each job varies quite a bit, so we’d need an idea of how many colors, exact size, etc. Feel free to send us an email


Deseret Tarot and a Swarm of Bees
Posted on July 22nd, 2011 // Letterpress, Posters & Prints, Printing //

Secrets and Symbols of the Deseret

We love to work with the AIGA. For those unfamiliar, the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) do for design what the Shriners do for brotherly love, and designers that are a part of the AIGA aren’t required to parade around driving miniature Corvettes while wearing funny hats. The AIGA strives to create a cultural forum and foundation for any professional designer. They are really quite awesome.

So, lucky us, the AIGA will be hosting next year’s conference in Salt Lake City. Yay! Like the passing of the Olympic torch, we were asked to provide a snippet of what Utah is all about so the AIGA could get a taste of what they’re in for. Naturally, we have an expert (of sorts) on all things Utah – Dan Christofferson. Dan created the artwork for this piece and we couldn’t have dreamed a better result.

Dan is super zealous when it comes to the interesting, if not at times absurd, Utah history. I’m sure most people think they have an idea of the goings on around here because of a certain HBO show, but rest assured, we’re pretty sure that most of us don’t have multiple wives, invest in reservation casinos, nor do we have grandmothers hustling parrots across the border. However, we do have some wacky history.

An excerpt from the piece:

An engorged seagull, a solid gold railroad spike, a cryptic alphabet…Within this deck of cards, the AIGA Salt Lake Chapter has gone through great lengths to unearth and translate the six most sacred and intriguing symbols of this culture.

Printing this piece involved some extra, fine-tuning. Lucky for us we’re equipped with the Heidelberg ‘S’ Cylinder press that can churn out an 16″x24″ print (actually it can print up to about 19″x27″). We then die-cut it and hand-rounded the corners. We’re not going to lie, registration on this double-sided, 4 color piece was no walk in the park. We used Dur-O-Tone Butcher Off White paper that was kindly donated by French Paper. Also, obtaining consistent ink coverage on a sheet this large is always a challenge. It’s pieces like this that make our hearts swoon.

We’re excited to have the AIGA come to our humble Salt Lake City. We’ll be welcoming everyone with open arms, swarms of bees, some long-haired hit man, and our 55 wives.




  1. Wren

    These look fantastic. The texture of the paper really adds to the overall look of the designs.

  2. Secrets and Symbols of Deseret | Paper Crave

    [...] posters that I featured back in February? Yep,  amazing. Well, they’re at it again with a new project, created for next year’s AIGA conference, which will be held in Salt Lake [...]

  3. Craig

    this is amazing. how can i order or get a print of this? truly amazing.

    thanks, craig